The obvious signs of a catered party–rented chafing dishes, mirrored trays, snap–draped tables, and starchy flowers–are nowhere to be seen at a function by Food Company, a three-year-old catering concern. Instead, the food is a straightforward interpretation of New American cuisine, and the table arrangements have a natural look that links the party to its surroundings.
“We’re not a Chinese-restaurant kind of caterer where you choose one item from column A and one from column B,” says Shelly Barsotti, the chef and menu planner. “It’s the client’s taste, not ours, that we want to focus on.”
For a Southwestern approach, the holiday menu starts with chimichangas filled with a spicy chicken-and-black-bean mixture; they are accompanied by a grilled-tomato-and-pepper salsa. Dallas goat cheese and fresh chopped herbs are folded into delicate avocado crepes; the crepes will be filled and folded just before serving. Bite-size tamales are stuffed with smoked shrimp and steamed; they need only to be garnished. Quail stuffed with a piquant crawfish-cornbread stuffing make a sensible holiday entrée–they are attractive resting on a bed of greens and roasted peppers. There are several vegetable combinations: a winter mix of Brussels sprouts braised with chestnets; yellow waz beans and green beans; and roasted new and sweet potato quarters. A rich cranberry-bourbon sauce is a refreshing counterpoint.
The dessert menu features some old ideas with a new twist, like a warm fruit crisp made with pears and cranberries and a tangy lemon caked studded with dried apricots and walnuts. It’s all food designed to suit the setting.
Time: 6 to 8 p.m.
Number of Guests: 40 at $50 per guest
Chicken Chimichangas, Avocado Crepes, Smoked-Shrimp Tamales
Roast Quail With Crawfish-Cornbread Stuffing
Braised Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts
Wax Beans and Green Beans
Roasted New Potato and Sweet Potato Wedges
Spinach Salad With Ruby Red Grapefruit and Poached Scallops
Cranberry-Pear Crisp, Pecan Pie
Lemon Cake, Berries and Whipped Cream With Cookies
La Crema Chardonnay, 1985